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Vascular Plants of California
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Polemonium californicum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: PolemoniaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, vine. Leaf: simple or compound, cauline (or most basal), alternate or opposite; stipules 0. Inflorescence: cymes, heads, clusters, or flower 1; bracts in involucres or not. Flower: sepals generally 5, fused at base, translucent membrane generally connecting lobes, torn by fruit; corolla generally 5-lobed, radial or bilateral, salverform to bell-shaped, throat often well defined; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, attached at >= 1 level, filaments of >= 1 length, pollen white, yellow, blue, or red; ovary superior, chambers generally 3, style 1, stigmas generally 3. Fruit: capsule. Seed: 1--many, when wetted swelling or not, gelatinous or not.
Genera In Family: 26 genera, 314 species: America, northern Europe, northern Asia; some cultivated (Cantua, Cobaea (cup-and-saucer vine), Collomia, Gilia, Ipomopsis, Linanthus, Phlox). Note: Leptodactylon moved to Linanthus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert Patterson, family description, key to genera, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: PolemoniumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: decumbent to erect, 10--100 cm, glandular-hairy, hairy, or glabrous. Leaf: pinnate-compound, alternate; basal petiole base membranous or not, sheathing or not; cauline sessile above; leaflets entire to divided, glabrous to glandular-hairy. Inflorescence: cyme or head. Flower: calyx bell-shaped, membranous in age but not separated into membrane and lobes, glandular-hairy; corolla rotate to funnel- or bell-shaped, tube << throat, lobes white to blue or purple; stamens attached at 1 level, filaments hairy at base; ovary generally +- 1 mm, +- 1 mm wide. Fruit: ovoid to spheric. Seed: <= 10, generally 1--3 mm, elliptic to ovate, +- gelatinous when wet, brown to black.
Species In Genus: +- 30 species: America, Eurasia. Etymology: (Greek: perhaps from Polemon, Athenian philosopher, or polemos, strife or war) Note: Perennial herb generally cross-pollinated, annual self-pollinated. Polemonium eddyense newly described; Polemonium pulcherrimum var. shastense newly recognized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Rebecca L. Stubbs, Ruth E. Timme & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Pritchett 1993 M.S. Thesis, San Francisco State Univ; Stubbs & Patterson 2013 Madroño 60:243--248
Unabridged Reference: Grant 1989 Bot Gaz 150:158--169; Pritchett & Patterson 1998 Madroño 45:200--209
Polemonium californicum Eastw.
Habit: Perennial herb, cespitose, soft-hairy; rhizomed. Stem: decumbent to erect, 12--25 cm, glandular-hairy. Leaf: +- basal, < 15 cm, 1--5 cm wide, cauline reduced or not, glandular-hairy; petioles 2--6 cm, bases not membranous, +- sheathing; leaflets 9--25, 10--25 mm, 5--15 mm wide, elliptic to lanceolate, entire, terminal +- fused with adjacent pair. Inflorescence: open cyme, generally same level as highest leaves, 5--25-flowered; pedicel 1--7 mm. Flower: calyx 6--8 mm, lobes > tube, acute; corolla bell-shaped, limb 7--15 mm diam, throat 2--3 mm, lobes 3--4 mm, light to dark blue or purple; stamens 5 mm, included; pistil 4--7 mm, style exserted or not. Fruit: 2--4 mm, 2--3 mm wide. Seed: 6--10, brown. Chromosomes: 2n=36.
Ecology: Dry, open to shaded areas in montane forest; Elevation: 1600--3100 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, CaRH, n&c SNH; Distribution Outside California: to Washington. Flowering Time: Jun--Aug Note: Self-incompatible. Intergrades with Polemonium pulcherrimum at high elevations in SNH.
Jepson eFlora Author: Rebecca L. Stubbs, Ruth E. Timme & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Pritchett 1993 M.S. Thesis, San Francisco State Univ; Stubbs & Patterson 2013 Madroño 60:243--248
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Polemonium californicum

botanical illustration including Polemonium californicum


Citation for this treatment: Rebecca L. Stubbs, Ruth E. Timme & Dieter H. Wilken 2014, Polemonium californicum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 2,, accessed on August 04, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 04, 2021.

Polemonium californicum
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© 1983 Gary A. Monroe
Polemonium californicum
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© 2010 Keir Morse
Polemonium californicum
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Polemonium californicum
click for enlargement
© 2009 Keir Morse
Polemonium californicum
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© 2005 Steve Matson
Polemonium californicum
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© 2009 Barry Breckling

More photos of Polemonium californicum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Polemonium californicum:
KR, CaRH, n&c SNH
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


View elevation by latitude chart

Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).